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Sutta Nipāta: Dhaniya the Cattleman, Part 7 of 9

2021-03-08
Lingua:English

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So, the more you have, the more trouble. Sometimes, because I have so many things, sometimes I want to just leave it all. Just go, with just one pair of clothes or two, in whatever small bag I can carry. That’s the life I had in India for at least two something years. And I was very happy, very happy. That was a very happy time, the freest time I ever felt. So free!

So, the Buddha said something here: “There are no cows, no young bulls, no cows in calf or breeding cows, no great bull, the leader of the herd: So, if you want, rain god, go ahead and rain.” That’s even better. You don’t have to worry whether or not the cows will have a meadow full of grass, or where to find the water for them, or need to have a cowboy to tend to them, and need to tend to them when they’re sick, or if too much rain maybe they’ll get a cold or something. Nothing to worry about because you have nothing.

There was a story about a yogi. Originally, he had nothing. Like Buddha’s disciples, he went out begging. Then he needed milk. For some reason he liked milk. So, he went out begging for milk every day, also for food. So, one of the people said, “I’ll give you a cow, so every day you can have milk. You don’t have to go out in the rain to beg for milk anymore.” So, the yogi thought, “Oh yeah, OK. Why not? That’s convenient.” So then, because he had a cow, he must have somewhere to live, so that he could have some grass or garden to keep the cow. Before, he was wandering around. So, OK, somebody else gave him a grassy yard and built him a little hut to stay (in). And then, because they built things and they brought in the utensils and all that, then he had to have somebody to wash and take care of the house. First he had a cat, and then he needed milk for the cat, and then, so he had a cow, and then he had to take care of the cow with the grass area, had to take the cow out and blah blah, and then he got tired. He thought he needed another person to help take care of the household. He had a house now, and then the cow had to be fed, and then so on and so forth. So then, he had a woman. You know the story, the rest, right? And then of course, he had children. And that’s finished. The story’s finished. No, no, no. I was wrong. I mean he is completely finished.

So, the more you have, the more trouble. Sometimes, because I have so many things, sometimes I want to just leave it all. Just go, with just one pair of clothes or two, in whatever small bag I can carry. That’s the life I had in India for at least two something years. And I was very happy, very happy. That was a very happy time, the freest time I ever felt. So free! You just feel so light and so free. And even you find just some little wood to make a little fire with the three stones, and then cook your own (vegan) spaghetti, oh, you feel so good! Really.

You don’t understand how good it feels; like life’s so free. You take care of yourself. I was very skinny then. Very skinny and the skin was so tanned, so dark. If I’d gone to Africa, they’d have probably taken me in any tribe. “Oh sister, welcome.” I was that dark, because I lived outdoors. And I sat on the Ganges River to dry my clothes and myself. I just couldn’t (have) cared less about sun or wind or rain. My clothes sometimes were soaking wet. I didn’t feel anything; I wasn’t sick, until I went to a warm area. Now, truly, if I could live like that again I would, anytime. If I could just forget my lovely karmas, beautiful attraction.

All right. So, the cowherd still did not give up. He wanted to argue his case. So, he said, “The stakes are dug-in, immovable. The new muñja-grass halters, well woven, not even young bulls could break: So, if you want, rain god, go ahead and rain.” Meaning, he takes care of everything perfectly. Like he put the stakes very deep in the ground, so they can hold the grass and everything. And maybe the cow stable is very, very secure, even young bulls cannot break out or go in, to mess up his secure, perfect, manicured life. So, he didn’t care if it rained or shined. Very good.

So, the Buddha said, “Having broken my bonds like a great bull, like a great elephant tearing a rotting vine, I never again will lie in the womb: So, if you want, rain god, go ahead and rain.” Meaning He will never be reincarnated again as a human, unless He wanted to, of course, unless He wanted to. Meaning He’s completely free already. Nirvana is the only place to go. “I never again will lie in the womb.” Wow! What a nice statement. Nice situation, nice state to have, spiritual state. Instead of worrying about the bull breaking out of the stable, Buddha broke His own prison, His own bondage, so He felt very, very free now, indeed. He knows He’s completely liberated. Wonderful! Can you say that already? Any of you? (No.) (Not yet.) Not yet? Almost. Almost there, right? A little bit. Yeah, you will be. You can. You will. I’m sure of that, because you’re very sincere. Just sooner or later, you’ll be free, completely free.

If you don’t commit any great sin, like slandering the Buddha, hurting the Buddha or the sangha, or if you don’t lie about your spiritual level, to cheat others, to profit yourself, or to gain the worship of your followers, for example; if you don’t kill anyone, or any beings, then no matter how lazy you are, I can always help you, bring you up to my House, my New House. And be vegan! Vegan! Not just anything. Vegan! Make peace. All right. I guess the cowboy is dumbfounded now. He had nothing more to argue about, so he stopped. Before he said one sentence, the Buddha said another opposite sentence, and then he opposed the Buddha again, and the Buddha had to explain again, and he opposed again, again and again. Now he shut up, finally.

“The great cloud rained down straight away, filling the lowlands & high. Hearing the rain god pour down, Dhaniya… Dhaniya still continued to say? I thought he shut up. So Buddha had only one minute, and then he came in now, the cowboy. “How great our gain that we have gazed on the Blessed One! We go to Him, the One with Eyes, for refuge.” He’s praising the Buddha now. He probably understood at last. “May You be our teacher, Great Sage.” He addressed the Buddha as a Great Sage. “May You be our teacher. My wife and I are composed. Let’s follow the holy life under the One Well-Gone.” “Well-Gone,” meaning He, the Buddha, is no longer in this world, even though His physical body is still there. So, he said, “Let’s follow the holy life under the One Well-Gone.” Meaning, the Liberated One, meaning the Buddha. So, they wanted to become monk and nun together. Wow! That’s a good thing. “Gone to the far shore” means “liberated.” “…of aging and death, let’s put an end to suffering and stress.” Meaning, far away from life and death, from aging and death, and suffering. Put an end to suffering as well, and all the stress. They wanted to become renunciates, Buddha’s monk disciples.

And now what? Guess who is coming? (The rain.) The rain did come already. “The great cloud rained down straight away, filling the lowlands and high.” Remember? “Hearing the rain god pour down, the cowherd had said so, ‘How great our gain that we have gazed on the Blessed One!’” The rain here could mean that the true teaching of the Buddha was showering on them, so awakened them, washed them out; washed away all their accumulated dust of ignorance. And then suddenly the cattleman awakened. So, he praised the Buddha. Immediately, he wanted to leave home and live the holy life of monkhood. And go to the far away shore, away from life, death, suffering and stress.

And then guess who is coming? (Śakra) Śakra, no, worse, māra, maya. Maya came in now. How? How can he be awakened so quickly? They just tended the cows yesterday, and today they want to be monks. Not possible.

Let’s see what he said. “Those with children delight because of their children. Those with cattle delight because of their cows. A person’s delight comes from acquisitions, for a person with no acquisitions doesn’t delight.” You understand that? He said the opposite. He said, if you have children you will be very happy because you have children; if you have cows you will be happy because you have a lot of cows. So, people in this world are happy if they have some acquisitions, meaning possessions. They’ve got something, so they’ll be happy with that. Because if you don’t have any possessions, you won’t feel delighted.

He wanted to ruin. You can see that. He wanted to pull them back to their old habitual life. Go back to your children, you wife, your cows, your house, and stuff like that. He was still trying to tempt this couple, who had already awakened and wanted to follow the Buddha, forsake every possession in the world already, and he came in. “You cannot do that, then you won’t be happy. You must be happy if you have children; you’ll be happy if you have cows, if you have possessions, because the beings will not feel happy without any possessions.” Blah, blah, blah.

So, the Buddha said now, countering him: “Those with children grieve precisely because of their children.” They make trouble sometimes. “Those with cattle grieve precisely because of their cows.” A lot of work. Take care when they’re sick and a lot of tending. “A person’s grief comes from acquisitions, for a person with no acquisitions doesn’t grieve.” Nothing to lose. OK, end of the story for today.

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